The Promised Land: Exploring All Filming Locations

‘The Promised Land’ or ‘Bastarden’ is an epic historical drama set in 18th-century Denmark, based on Ida Jessen’s book ‘The Captain and Ann Barbara,’ which took inspiration from the real-life figure Ludvig von Kahlen. Captain Ludvig Kahlen, an impoverished retired army officer, embarks on a quest from the Royal Danish Court to build a settlement on the barren Jutland moorland. Kahlen faces opposition from a ruthless local magistrate, Frederik de Schinkel, who asserts that the land belongs to him. As Kahlen battles to establish his homestead, he forms unlikely bonds with Johannes Eriksen and Ann Barbara, fugitive serfs seeking refuge from de Schinkel’s tyranny.

As Kahlen grows closer to achieving his life-long dream of holding a title, Schinkel becomes increasingly desperate, taking extreme measures to ensure the newcomer’s downfall. The film delves into Kahlen’s extreme ambition, showcasing his resilience in the face of insurmountable odds. However, the seemingly stoic man slowly grows softer, with a de-facto family forming around the few loyal workers on his farm. Under the direction of Nikolaj Arcel, the historical movie treats us to hauntingly beautiful visuals of the Danish Jutland, its surrounding settlements, and its natural expanse. With the unique and extreme environment becoming a character in its own right, some may wonder where the film’s scenes were captured in the real world.

The Promised Land Filming Locations

‘The Promised Land’ was filmed on location at sites across Denmark, Germany, Sweden, and the Czech Republic. Principal photography was carried out between September 5, 2022, and early November 2022. The somber mood prevalent throughout most of the film affected the cast and crew behind the scenes as well. Yet spirits remained high, especially thanks to the boisterous energy of young actress Melina.

Nikolaj Arcel talked about his favorite moment in creating the film, recounting how the young Melina would often raise the spirits of everyone on set with her curiosity and spontaneity. Recalling an anecdote, he said, “At one point, Melina was so happy that we were serving real pancakes for the scene that she raised her arms and yelled, ‘Pancakes!’ That wasn’t in the script, but we laughed so hard and I thought it was beautiful. That’s exactly what her character would do in that moment, so we kept it in the film.” Allow us to take you through the filming destinations chosen to lens the production.

Viborg Municipality, Denmark

In northern Denmark, on the Jutland peninsula, the film crew ventured to the real-world location of Ludvig von Kahlen’s survey in the 18th century. Filming took place in the historical region which usually remains off-limits to visitors. In an interview, the director discussed his trip to the well-preserved site, talking about how most of the Jutland heath is very hard to film in because of the deterioration of the landscape and strict regulations surrounding them. However, the filmmaker was able to shoot scenes for the movie where the real Ludvig had built his house 300 years ago.

The Kongenshus Mindepark, on Vestre Skivevej 142, holds a memorial stone dedicated to Ludvig von Kahlen, honoring his efforts. “This is the first time I’ve had the pleasure and honor to shoot on the actual location where something historical really happened.” said Nikolaj in the aforementioned interview, “That was the reason why they let us shoot these scenes, they felt we were telling part of their history. They felt, Ok, you have to be very protective of the plants and vegetation, but you can shoot here because you’re basically telling our local story”

The Czech Republic

A major portion of ‘The Promised Land’ was shot in locations around Prague and the Czech Republic. Scenes of the vast barren landscapes of Jutland seen in the movie were lensed at sites across Libochovice in the Ústí nad Labem Region, Jaroměřice in the Pardubice Region, Ralsko near Liberec, and the Zvánovický potok stream in Central Bohemia. Frederik de Schinkel’s manor seen in the film is actually the State Castle Libochovice, situated in Libochovice town. Also known as the Libochovice Chateau, the manor was built on top of an abandoned castle in the mid-16th century. It is managed by the National Heritage Institute and remains a local cultural icon.


Shooting for the film is reported to have taken place within the territory of Sweden. The film was co-produced by the Swedish company Film i Väst, which has a studio located at Åkerssjövägen 6, 461 53 in Trollhättan. The company is also behind another Mads Mikkelsen film, ‘The Hunt.’


Some backdrops seen in ‘The Promised Land’ included those lensed in Germany. Ludvig von Kahlen’s tale in the film begins with his retirement from the German army. The rugged terrain and picturesque countryside of Germany lend authenticity to the story of Kahlen. Germany’s capital city of Berlin is renowned as a live set for filming against striking backdrops with iconic locales, which can be seen in films like ‘Origin,’ ‘Downfall,’ and ‘Valkyrie.’

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